Try to Pronounce the Names of 9 More Tongue-Twisting Michigan Destinations

Last year, we challenged our fans to pronounce the names of 12 cities within the state that could be considered Michigan tongue-twisters. Since our fans didn’t break a sweat, we’re taking the gloves (or mittens) off and offering another challenge.

Can you correctly pronounce the names of these nine unique cities and towns in Michigan? Test your skills below!

Ocqueoc River Falls - Photo by Patti Potts

Ocqueoc Falls – Photo by Patti Potts

1. Ocqueoc Township
Ocqueoc is home to the largest waterfall in the Lower Peninsula. In addition to the falls, there is access to the Ocqueoc Falls Bicentennial Pathway, which includes loop lengths from six miles to three miles where you’re free to hike, cross country ski or bike. “Ah-key-ock” is the perfect place to get lost and explore the beautiful nature of Pure Michigan.

2. Ontonagon
Ontonagon County on the south shore of Lake Superior includes the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park , created in 1945. Famous locations in the park include the Lake of the Clouds, one of the most scenic spots in all of Michigan and Summit Peak Observation Tower, one of the highest points in found in the state. For history buffs, there are self-guided trails to old mining sites on the Union Mine Scenic Trail, and the Nonesuch Mine location. A trip to “On-ten-ogg-en” should be on every Michiganders bucket list!

3. Quanicassee
For fishing enthusiasts, a trip to “Qua-kna-ca-see” might be a Michigan angler’s paradise. You might catch walleye, perch or bass or even have northern pike, sunfish or catfish tugging at your line. Camping and boating options are available all along Saginaw Bay, from Bay City west of Quanicassee to Unionville heading east from the town. Check out charters and fishing guides also operate on these waters!

Michigan Iron Industry Museum

Michigan Iron Industry Museum

4. Negaunee
The discovery of iron ore by an exploratory mining party near the shore of Teal Lake in 1844 launched the birth of of “Ne-gaw-nee”. Native Americans who had long resided in and traversed the area led the explorers to the massive outcropping of ore. Their heritage lives on in the name of Negaunee, which means “pioneer” in Chippewa. Consider visiting the Michigan Iron Industry Museum and explore the first iron forge in the Lake Superior Region.

5. Sebewaing
“See-ba-wing” is a perfect summer destination as it annually hosts the Michigan Sugar Festival in June. The village features a marina, County Park, museums, shops, restaurants and bed and breakfast accommodations, among much more. Sebewaing is a great place for a weekend excursion and is known for great walleye fishing, too!

6. Onekama
In 1845, Adam Stronach built a lumber mill on the channel between Lake Michigan and Portage Lake. “Oh-neck-a-mah” (the Native American name for Portage) was settled and soon had two major railroads; the Manistee and the Northwestern. Today, the village consists of many prospering businesses including restaurants, lodging facilities, retail stores and a marina. The Historic Portage Point Inn along with other Victorian style cottages offer a glimpse back in time when tourism first started and this great resort town was developed.

Naubinway, MI - Photo by Edward Shotwell

Naubinway, MI – Photo by Edward Shotwell

7. Naubinway
Here’s an easy one. Naubinway, or “naw-bin-way”, is the northernmost community on Lake Michigan’s shoreline and the largest commercial fishing port on the Great Lakes in the Upper Peninsula.  A unique treat for visitors is the chance to purchase fish caught locally, buying the fish directly off the dock. The Native American name Naubinway means Places of Echoes. Pack up the van and spend a weekend at Hog Island Point State Forest!

8. Onondaga Township
The small town of “on-on-dah-gah” is located near Lansing in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The township and community were named after the Iroquois nation of Onondaga, historically based in New York. A post office was first established at the place about 1844, with Perez Howland as the first postmaster. In 1847 Perez Howland built a grocery, where the post office was operated out of. Today, Onondaga offers man home-town restaurants and taverns for visitors to enjoy.  If you’re looking for something sweet, check out Balzer Blueberries of Onondaga, a U-Pick Pure Michigan treat!

Charlevoix - Photo by Alan Leese

Charlevoix – Photo by Alan Leese

9. Clio
Clee-oh? Cly-oh?  Clio, pronounced “Cli-oh”, is located near the northern border of Genesee County. The area functions as an adjunct community to the greater Flint area and has a significant amount of manufacturing and small businesses. If you’re looking for a place to unwind, visit Buell Lake County Park and drop in a line!

 

 

How many of these could you name without missing a beat? Let us know below! For more information on unique Michigan cities and attractions across the state, visit Michigan.org.

7 Must-See Michigan Destinations for 2016

A new year brings with it a chance to visit places your feet have never taken you before. Guest blogger Aaron Cruz from The Awesome Mitten suggests seven Michigan towns that are worth a look in the New Year.

Downtown Plymouth

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz

Plymouth. If your plans this year are taking you to southeastern Michigan, visit this town that, while in the heart of suburbia, gives off the feeling of being in a small town far, far away. With a hand-crafted Espresso Elevado coffee in-hand, walk the downtown streets at the Plymouth Ice Festival in winter and Art in the Park in summer.  Hold hands with a loved one as you stroll through Kellogg Park in the center of town. In the summer road trip, hike or bike the 17-mile continuous park that is Hines Drive. Winter brings with it the chance to sled with the kids at Plymouth Township Park. For food, enjoy some pizza and smoked barbeque at Ironwood Grill, go for a more upscale feel and cocktails at Fiamma Grille or grab the gang and enjoy family-style dining along the railroad tracks at Station 885.

Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz

Frankenmuth. No town epitomizes Christmas and the holidays in Michigan more than Frankenmuth. Visit the world’s largest Christmas Store, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. Shop the stores with German themed names like Cheese Haus along the one-street downtown also known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria. Experience a specialty coffee at The Harvest Coffeehouse & Beanery. Grab a flight of beer at Frankenmuth Brewery to wash down their delicious lobster mac ‘n cheese. Looking for romance? Contact the Frankenmuth Carriage Company about a horse & carriage ride. Those looking for family fun, make a weekend out of it with the kids at the Bavarian Inn of Frankenmuth resort.

Beach in Grand Haven

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz

Grand Haven. The Lake Michigan coastline in the mitten offers one charming, beautiful resort town after another. The Grand Haven lighthouse and pier is reason enough to choose Grand Haven for a first time visit. Alongside the lighthouse, you will find Grand Haven State Park, which is made up entirely of beach and sand dunes with camping opportunity. As you browse the shops in the cozy downtown, get a freshly-made baked good from the boutique-styled The Bakers Wife. Experience hand-crafted coffee at Aldea Coffee in the Armory, where Grand Armory Brewery Company and Righteous BBQ also await. During summer evenings, watch the synchronized Musical Fountain and all its water, lights and music.

Beach in Oscoda

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz

Oscoda. The Lake Michigan coastline gets al lot of love, but the Sunrise Coast and Lake Huron showcase their own beauty like in the resort town of Oscoda. Grab a cup of coffee at the colorful Garden View Coffee Mill, then head down the street for a walk on the pier at Oscoda Beach Park.  Time your visit for the summer and you might run into their Annual Art on the Beach fair. Just north of town sits miles of sugar sand beach fun. For nature enthusiasts, head west of town along the River Road National Scenic Byway and you will quickly be in the Huron National Forest. Waterfalls, scenic overlooks, hiking trails, monuments, lumberjacks, 300+ step staircases and plenty of camping options await you. Eagle’s Nest Overlook is a must visit.

Spicer Orchards in Fenton

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz

Fenton. Just south of Flint and easily accessible from the Detroit area, Fenton’s motto might as well be go big or go home when it comes to its thriving food scene. Grab a peanut butter and jelly donut that is big enough for two from Crust. Head down the street for a Reuben or one of the other endless selection of humongous sandwiches at The Laundry. During the dinner hour order a large of any pasta dish at Fenton House and you’ll have enough for the whole family, with tons to spare. In autumn, mix in some cider, donuts, wine tasting and family fun at Spicer Orchards and enjoy some carnival food, apple pie and entertainment at one of the biggest fall festivals in Michigan, Apple Fest.

Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz

Sault Ste. Marie. The fun as we turn the calendar does not have to be confined to the Lower Peninsula. Head to the U.P. and Michigan’s oldest city. Go on a boat tour at the famous Soo Locks and/or watch from the three story observation deck as giant ships pass through the locks and canals of the largest waterway crossing in the world. Next head across W. Portage Ave. to walk along and scope out the tourist traps. For eats I recommend grabbing a burger with everything on it and hanging out at Clyde’s Drive-In. Before getting into the car watch the ferries head to-and-from Sugar Island while walking around Rotary Park.

Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Cruz

Port Huron. A lot of people pass through Port Huron as they go into Canada. In the New Year, as you head towards the Blue Water Bridge, get off the interstate and checkout the international crossing from the south along Thomas Edison Parkway. Just north of the bridge visit the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse and Lighthouse Park. You’ll find beachfront where you can watch as Lake Huron flows into the St. Clair River while waving over to Canada. Staying in town, grab a sandwich, a specialty coffee and some tunes at Ravens Café. In the warmer months, walk along Quay Street and the docked boats, as well as visit the Vantage Point Farmers’ Market which sits right along the riverfront.

What other Michigan towns would you like to visit and explore for the first time in the New Year?

aaron cruz

Aaron Cruz is a lover and long time resident of The Mitten. When he is not out on the open road, he’s probably drinking coffee in a random indie coffee shop. He loves taking photos and road trips, along with checking out skylines, the seasons, shorelines and hanging around water which makes Michigan the perfect place to live. You can find him on TwitterInstagram and on his personal travel blog.

Thirteen Reasons to Run Away to Hell (Michigan, That Is!)

Hell is a place in Pure Michigan, not a swear word. So, there is no need to refer to Hell as H-E double hockey sticks. And since there is a real dam in Hell, you are not committing any sins by taking your photo in front of the falling water. Today, Barbara Braden from Livingston County Convention & Visitors Bureau shares 13 reasons to run away to Hell…Michigan, that is.  

Greetings From Hell1) Check the weather
There is an official US weather observation station here. Is it hotter than Hell, is it colder than Hell? Has Hell frozen over? More print and broadcast meteorologists have written and talked about Hell on severe weather days than any other town in Michigan and beyond. Tony Perkins (the then weather-man for Good Morning America) went to Hell and back to give his weather report. Check the guest book to see the numerous other celebrities that visited.

2) Indulge in the Crematory
Take the Grave Digger ice cream challenge at the cream-a-tory. Many brave souls have tried to finish the tempting pound of ice cream served in a miniature coffin. Oddly, winners of this challenge get a death certificate and join the ranks of the few that have lived to tell the story. To avoid the ice cream headache from Hell, try the make your own sundaes. Dip scary-named toppings like butter-snot, ectoplasm, and scare-a-mel out of an authentic coffin. 

"The Grave Digger" - Photo courtesy of Livingston County CVB

“The Grave Digger” – Photo courtesy of Livingston County CVB

3) Get Elected
Someone once said, Politicians in Hell… well it’s a good start. You can join the unofficial politicians from Hates by opting to be Mayor of Hell for a day. “His (or Her) Honor the Mayor” takes on a whole new meaning when your constituents (or is it minions) are from Hell. Politics aside, if you are the Mayor of Hell, you don’t have to keep any campaign promises.

4) Matriculate
Tired of boring scholarly types bragging about their prestigious degrees? Join the many proud alumni from Damnation University and you can laude your own credentials. You will definitely set yourself apart from the masses when you arrive in your Dam U collegiate sweatshirt. And when they raise their learned eyebrows, you can say… the devil made me do it.

5) Play Miniature Golf
Do you have friends that are continually using their “foot wedge” or claim to have an endless supply of mulligans? Well Hell is the place for those that think the rules don’t apply to them. The whimsical characters along the aptly named holes are sure to prompt a few chuckles.

6) Reach out to Friends or Enemies
Send a scorched postcard card from official US Post Office to an arch enemy and write… “Wish you were here”. Why not mail a gift to a loved one and say you went thru Hell to get it for them. Each April 15th, hundreds of procrastinators descend upon the tiny town to mail their tax returns from Hell. Can you say… audit? All mail from Hell is scorched with real fire because it’s hot down there.

Cookies From Hell

Photo courtesy of Livingston Country CVB

7) Canoe & Kayak
Explore the chain of lakes where your trip can be as short as 2 hours or as long as a full day. Sightings of Blue Herons, turtles basking in the sun, beaver, deer, eagles, and other native wild life are common as you glide alongside serene vistas. There is no need to bring your own canoe or kayak, rentals are available.

8) Dine in Hell’s Kitchen
If you are expecting HOT cuisine you won’t be disappointed by the hottest wings in Hell. Hell’s ovens bake sinfully delicious bread daily and pride themselves in locally sourced ingredients from farmers markets. Take home Smitty’s Hot Sauce from Hell to rekindle memories of your decadent dining.

9) Invest in Real Estate
Yes “Hell’s-Half-Acre” is for sale, by the square inch. You can purchase the official dirt from Hell in a small bottle that comes with a certificate of ownership. It makes a great gift, if you want to give someone a little Hell.

Photo courtesy of Livingston County CVB

Photo courtesy of Livingston County CVB

10) Get Married
On a cold day in Hell… many couples have “tied the knot” in the Wedding Chapel. Hell’s Facebook page has a gallery of wedding photos featuring the festive nuptials. Mayor Odum Plenty will perform the nuptials and even help with the arrangements. Like the Mayor says, a marriage made in Hell has nowhere to go but up.

11) Photo Opportunities
Who wouldn’t want a true “selfie” from Hell? Or there are always the commemorative departure photos under the Welcome to Hell sign. Even Flat Stanley posed with a friend in Hell. Photo buffs that like light-hearted shots will enjoy the cartoon style cut-outs that frame your face.

Hell Froze Over_00112) It’s a Punster’s Paradise
Weather it is puns or a play on words that you enjoy, Hell is an irreverent inspiration no matter where you turn. And no-one enjoys hearing your “spin” on Hell more that the friendly hellions that work there.

13) You meet the nicest people in Hell
It seems counter intuitive that you would meet nice people in Hell, doesn’t it? But it is true. I love to share the many photos of Hell’s guests because they all look like they are having a wonderful time. I have met people from all over the globe in Hell, and I hope someday I will “See YOU in Hell”.

Barb BardenBarbara Barden is the executive director of the Livingston County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Livingston County is home to Hell Michigan, which means Barden gets paid to tell people to “Go to Hell”. But she always is quick to add… she means it in the nicest way. Barden is a graduate of Damnation University and holds a Master’s degree in Procrastination.